ANI Photo | Sterlite protest was “foreign-funded”: Tamil Nadu Governor

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi on Thursday alleged that the protest which led to the closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi was “foreign-funded” and those behind it were getting funds under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or were non-government organisations.
The Governor said that there is a need for stricter regulations in the Act and the process in this regard has begun.
The Sterlite copper plant was owned by businessman Anil Agarwal and was closed in 2018 after 13 people died in the police firing incident during the protest. The prolonged protest was made by the locals who had alleged that the plant was causing health hazards.
“In Sterlite in Thuthukudi, it was a purely foreign-funded activity which led to the protest where police fired and it was an unfortunate incident that cost innocent lives. That’s a very sad part of it. But they want this Sterlite to be closed because that Sterlite produced 40 per cent of our country’s copper needs and you know how copper is important for the electronic industry,” Ravi said while interacting with the aspirants of civil services examinations.
The Governor said that the radicalisation that is reported in parts of the country is mostly “foreign-funded”.

“They closed it (Sterlite) and even now it closed for 10 years down the line. All those who were behind it were getting FCRA foreign contributions. No, we need to be strict about it. It’s not as strict even today my view is it should be, but it’s in the process. Criticism will be there, that’s okay. People have freedom, and rights to protest and say something and it’s perfectly all right. Government has to ensure that our national interests are protected and anything that goes against purposefully is meant to inhabit or retard our growth and create a problem, disharmony. So radicalisation what you see today which is happening, there also foreign funded mostly,” he said.
He further called out the NGOs and their donors and alleged that some of them were receiving money for “anti-national” activities.
“Some of the NGOs were receiving the FCRAs and the donors were sitting in foreign countries. They were sending money for activities which were anti-national in nature. We have a nuclear plant in Kanyakumari. Every time you start the work, there is a protest in the name of climate…,” the Governor said.
He referred to the banned outfit Popular Front of India and said that it has created another front namely “India Fraternity Front”.
“If you look at the PFI, most of the fund come from outside. They have created India Fraternity Front. This is all the label for getting money from all to create a problem, terrorist activity. All these people from India, whether from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, or Karnataka, they went to ISIS to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, where almost 90 per cent of them were through PFI and they get money in account through FCRA accounts. It’s not acceptable,” he said.
Reacting to his remarks on Sterlite copper plant, DMK Deputy General Secretary Kanimozhi said, “I condemn the governor who is defaming the people’s struggle.” (ANI)

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